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Insight RUSSIA


online with a license, but all bets would have to go through a special non -bank credit organisa- tion, which would be created and controlled by the Ministry. Internet providers will block book- makers and betting sites without a license.


The bill is designed to help generate tax revenue for the Russian government.


Currently, there are 27 officially registered book- makers across the country, with an annual turnover ranging from $2 billion - $2.5 billion per year.


However, these businesses generated tax of just $0.85 million, about half the amount generated from fines on illegal gambling in the first eight months of last year, according to the Acting Head of Moscow Department of Regional Security Alexei Mayorov.


Officially, Russian authorities claim to be clamp- ing down hard on illegal activity, having shut down 414 underground casinos and 28,000 gam- ing houses from 2009 to 2012.


The bill would allow bookmakers to operate online with a license, but all bets will have to go through a special non -bank


credit organisation, which will be created and controlled by the ministry.


The ban was originally proposed by President Vladimir Putin in 2006 after the Interior Ministry allegedly uncovered links between Moscow’s casinos and Georgian organised criminal gangs. It became effective July 1, 2009.


However, there are claims some authorities may themselves be involved.


In June 2011, two Ministry of Internal Affairs offi- cials, Farit Temirgaliyev and Mikhail Kulikov, were accused of bribery and covering up one of the illegal gambling rings in Moscow.


two poker tables for all users and another room with a roulette table for VIP guests.


The FSB officer also said there are about 100 ille- gal slot machines venues in Moscow and a dozen in smaller cities. In the capital, the halls are pop- ular among the nouveau riche, but in smaller cities they mainly target low- end gamblers.


He said these underground casinos are owned by “criminal gangs who ride on the coat tails of Russia’s Investigative Committee.”


The Investigative Committee is the main federal


investigating authority in Russia, formed in place of the Investigative Committee of the Prosecutor General of Russia in 2011 by then President Dmitry Medvedev. Russian pundits called the move an attempt to curtail the enormous power and influence that the Prosecutor General's Office had accumulated.


While casinos are banned, bookmakers and bet- ting is legal and in Novembe 2013 the Ministry of Finance began moves to legalise the online form of the business.


The bill would allow bookmakers to operate


The Supreme Court found “no legal basis” for their arrest and refused a request from Investigative Committee head Alexander Bastrykin and investigator Denis Nikandrov for a review of the case.


The Investigative Committee opened its probe into the Moscow region's network of illegal casi- nos in spring 2011, but Deputy Prosecutor General Viktor Grin shut down the investigation almost immediately.


The FSB officer described the case as ‘a high pro- file conflict’ between the two authorities, adding


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